My therapist says I’m brave: am I really?

Short answer: yes. Long answer:

I really fucking am. It takes a brave person to sit with their feelings and then do the thing their gut is telling them to do even though it’s the scariest option. This idea, although expressed in simple terms, is deeper and more complex than you would think.

In a world full of distractions, many people, when faced with some sort of turning point, will choose to keep walking, to keep being distracted, to keep looking outward because really, that’s not a choice at all. It’s just continuing, which is easier than stopping and starting again in another direction.

As someone with an anxiety disorder, my anxiety often manifests in physical sensations. I realized I was at a breaking point last year because my heart was hurting. No, that’s not a metaphor. The medical professionals said my heart is textbook-healthy, but it was continually hurting, from the time I woke up to when I went to bed, like a constant tightening sensation that flared up worse when I couldn’t distracted myself from it.

Sometimes it still hurts. It comes in waves. Yes, that’s a metaphor. It hurts right now. But the point I’m trying to make is, when this weird thing with my body started last year, I tried to ignore for awhile. I tried to push it away just like I tried to push my emotions down. Until I didn’t. Until I finally decided to stop and start again in a new direction because the continuous stress was taking a serious toll on a body that deserves better.

So when this sensation comes back into my life, I sit with it. I try not to judge it or panic—which can be hard when you have anxiety—and instead simply wonder. I remind the person in the mirror how much I love them and how much they are worth the effort of sitting with and sifting through the big emotions, and, when needed, taking drastic measures to restore peace in my mind and body.

At the end of the day, so much shit we go through is like clouds in the sky, just passing. We should sit quietly and observe while they go by. But sometimes, it’s a hail storm that won’t stop until you take your life back into your own hands. I think that’s a pretty fucking brave thing to do, don’t you?

If you’re struggling, struggle with me, and know that if you feel like you’re at your lowest, if your body is telling you something is wrong, you will be okay. I promise.

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